The Bill and Lorna Chafe Postdoctoral Fellowship in Oral History and Social Justice, Duke University

Deadline: April 1, 2024

Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) and History Department invite applications for a two-year Bill and Lorna Chafe Postdoctoral Fellowship in Oral History and Social Justice, to begin in July 2024.  CDS and the History Department welcome applications from scholars no more than two years out from the receipt of the Ph.D. whose research is rooted in historical analysis, who engage with questions about social equity in both research and teaching, and who have strong grounding in the methods and practice of oral history.  The holder of this postdoc will teach two courses a year, one an introduction to oral history method and practice, and one structured around an oral history project, ideally in partnership with a community organization, cultural institution, or history museum.  The Fellow will take part in the intellectual life of CDS and the History Department, and assist in the development of collaborative projects that link History and CDS and draw on the talents of Duke students, possibly including the new summer History+ program.

The successful applicant will have the chance to interact with numerous communities committed to the practice of oral history, innovative modes of inquiry-based learning, and exploration of issues related to social justice.  CDS and the Duke History Department have a long tradition of engagement with major oral history projects, most notably “Beyond the Veil,” which captured the experience of Blacks during the era of Jim Crow, and the SNCC Legacy Project, which explores the multifaceted efforts of activists in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee to expand civil and voting rights in the United States.  Duke Libraries have extensive expertise in assisting oral history work, with regard to Beyond the Veil and the SNCC Legacy Project, the multifaceted history of Duke, and a range of other initiatives.  The History Department has a vibrant Ph.D. program, and a number of faculty and students conduct oral histories as part of their research. Duke’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts, like the CDS community more generally, brings together faculty and students interested in the many forms that documentary work can take, from photography and documentary film, to podcasting and oral history.   The Duke Human Rights Center at the university’s Franklin Humanities Institute supports numerous projects examining social justice issues, in Durham and elsewhere.  Duke’s Office of Durham & Community Affairs works to further the work of local organizations and communities, in part by leveraging Duke resources, including curricular and co-curricular programs, to address community-defined priorities. 

Duke also has a rich set of signature programs that expose students to collaborative, co-created, community-engaged projects, including Bass Connections, DukeEngage, and a cluster of Summer+ programs. The Chafe Postdoctoral Fellow in Oral History and Social Justice will have ample opportunity to draw on Duke’s resources and link to one or more of these signature programs.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Completed PhD in History or related field
  • Background in high-level research that examines issues related to equity and social justice, broadly construed
  • Training in oral history methods and track record of oral history practice

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience with the design and implementation of collaborative humanities /interpretive social science projects
  • Record of teaching excellence

Applications must be submitted via Academic Jobs Online and should include:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Writing sample (article or chapter-length) that draws on oral history
  • Teaching statement
  • Sample syllabus structured around oral history as method and practice
  • Contact information for three letters of reference.

This position is not eligible for renewal.

Duke University, the Center for Documentary Studies, and the History Department are strongly committed to advancing inclusive excellence throughout our research, educational, and service activities. We seek to hire scholars who are passionate about working to increase the participation and success of individuals from different backgrounds and communities.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas-an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

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